Toyota paces first Silverstone practice; big wreck for Senna

Toyota paces first Silverstone practice; big wreck for Senna

Le Mans/WEC

Toyota paces first Silverstone practice; big wreck for Senna

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s pair of TS050 HYBRIDs continued their Le Mans form into the first on-track session of the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone. The fastest time, a 1m39.916s set by Mike Conway in the No. 7, was two tenths faster than Sebastien Buemi in the sister No. 8.

Unfortunately, the biggest news from the session was an incident after 25 minutes of running. Bruno Senna in the No. 1 Rebellion R-13 Gibson had a huge off at Copse.

Trackside observers stated that it was a near full-speed impact for the Brazilian after he lost control of the car at the exit of the high-speed right-hander. Senna was taken to the medical center, where he was determined to have suffered a fracture to his right ankle.

Results

The car, meanwhile, was heavily damaged, its right-rear corner taking the biggest hit, although team boss Hugues de Chaunac was hopeful it could still take part in the race.

“I think we can do it,” said de Chaunac during the session. “We are checking the chassis to see if all is OK. We will know more about our chances [to compete] in a few hours.”

The session was red-flagged for 17 minutes (and then extended by 15 minutes) after the hit, to allow for clear up and barrier repair work.

The fastest of the six privateer LMP1 runners was the other Rebellion R-13, the No. 3, which ended up with a best time of 1m40.943s, just over a second off the fastest Toyotas. The pace of the No. 3 showed early promise following the pre-Silverstone LMP1 Equivalence of Technology change, which was made to try to allow the LMP1 Privateer runners can run closer with the Hybrids this weekend.

Behind the No. 1 Rebellion in fifth and sixth overall were the two SMP Racing BR1s, which ended up 3.2 and 4 seconds off the ultimate pace.

Like the No. 1 Rebellion, the ByKolles ENSO CLM was also in the wars in FP1, as the Austrian car brought out a second red flag period, due to dropping oil on the track in the final 25 minutes.

In LMP2, the No. 28 TDS Racing ORECA topped the times, with a 1m46.122s, ahead of the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing 07 Gibson and Le Mans-winning No. 36 Signatech Alpine.

Ford meanwhile, sat atop the times in the GTE Pro class, the two Fords top of the rankings, the No. 66 of Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla ending the session with a 1m56.852s. The two Porsches were also quick and sat third (No. 91) and fifth (No. 92).

Further down the order, the Aston Martins and BMWs struggled for pace, as they did at Le Mans and Spa. The fastest car from the two marques running their new-for-2018 cars was the No. 97 Aston Martin, with a 1m58.770s, two seconds off the fastest Ford.

While it’s still early in the weekend, the mood in the AMR camp appears to be downbeat regarding the BoP change before the weekend, driver Alex Lynn describing the difference from Le Mans as “minute.”

Dempsey Proton Racing finished up 1-2 in Am with its two Porsche 911 RSRs, ahead of the No. 86 Gulf Racing 911 which made it a Porsche 1-2-3. The fastest of a lap from the three cars was set by Matteo Cairoli in the No. 88, a 1m59.418s.

UP NEXT: Free Practice 2 for the FIA WEC runners is set to start at 4:25 p.m. local time.

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